FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners voted Tuesday to accept a donation of a 3-year-old police dog on Tuesday, from Von Woden K-9 in Weld, for the Sheriff’s Office.

Commissioners also approved spending nearly $31,000 in Operation Stonegarden Program funds to buy a narcotics analyzer.

New parking hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. were also announced for the county’s use of its parking lot on Church Street. Before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., the lot is open to public parking. The hours for county use had previously been 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office does not have the funds to replace a K-9 that left when a former deputy resigned from the force.  The office wants to put the third K-9 handler back in place, Lt. David Rackliffe, who is also a K-9 handler, said.

Von Woden K9, owned by Rackliffe and which specializes in breeding, raising and training German Shepherd dogs for police work and for competition, offered to donate the 3-year-old female, Racke, to the county.

She has already started in narcotic detection training, Rackliffe said.

Commissioners accepted the donation. The dogs, depending on circumstances, are valued between $6,000 and $12,000 each, Rackliffe said. He estimated that Racke would be valued at about $6,000.

The vacant K-9 position has been posted in-house. Once the application deadline closes, they will be reviewed and  interviews will be set up, Rackliffe said.

Rackliffe also requested approval to spend $29,500 in Operation Stonegarden Program grant funds and to use about $1,335 from the county’s Stonegarden Reserve Account to buy a narcotics analyzer. Operation Stonegarden grants are part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They are used to enhance the security of U.S. borders and territories. The Sheriff’s Office participates in the program.

Given the toxicity of substances out there such as fentanyl, the analyzer will provide a way for powders and other substances to be tested in the field, Rackliffe said. It would keep officers safer and also help in court cases, he said.  The drugs can be tested without opening the packages.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has several analyzers, he said.

Commissioners also approved Rackliffe getting rid of some outdated items, including some old lights.


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